Woman’s Why Stricken Like Love’s

They called him names
Because they loved me
And wanted me to be ok again;
Wanted me to stop wondering
And asking why;
Wanted me to stop trying to peel back
The layers of my soul
To see what this stain is
That he couldn’t see beyond.
What manner of filth is it
That so covers me
That in his words, ‘I am not worthy?’
What layer of grime so obscures who I am
And what I am – but wait! –
We got here, didn’t we?
Where was the filth and the grime then?
When did the stench
Become so unbearable
That he had to walk away
Muttering good riddance to bad rubbish?

Me, rubbish? Perhaps my ears deceive.
I must have misheard.
Me, between whose legs
He saw the fabled heaven?
Whose touch brought him,
And brought him,
And brought him again
Till in hoarse voice he cried “No more!”
Even as his body begged “Go on!”?
When did I, of all people, become rubbish?
Me, with whom he cried
And from whose breast he drew
Only tenderness, only love;
That special kind of nourishment
Only a grown woman can give a grown man?
Me, who saw him at his weakest
And called him strong –
And by so doing spoke strength into him?
Me, who said to him “Carry on,”
And gave him everything he needed to do so?
Me, who supported him when no one else would;
Who was with him even as he strived for greatness?

Forgive me for saying it, but I made him.
With my arms and my words
And my sweat and my tears
And my heart and my prayers,
I made him.
With my love and my wetness
And my blood and my affection
And my acceptance –
I made him a man among men.
I covered his weakness and
Erased his mistakes and
Together we stepped into fullness:
One and one became an even greater one,
Greater even than the sum of the parts.
I drew up the game plan with which he slew the dragon –
When did I become a burden to him?
A ‘thing’ he needs to get over, let go of,
Speak of no more?
When did that happen?
“Why?” I asked them.
“Stop,” they said. “You’ll never understand.”

Am I not human enough?
Woman enough?
Or is it that I am too much of both?
Imperfect, defective, faulty,
And as flawed as he is,
As indeed all of us are?
Why must I be held to a higher standard
Than that to which he holds himself?
Blank slate, he said, as if he himself –
As if anybody – is untainted?
Fresh start, he said,
As if he can ever go back to not knowing?

I said nothing, let him go, watched him
Live a small life and narrow life,
Watched as his dreams disintegrated
And were interred with the ashes
Of what we once shared,
His greatness tempered by lethargy
And a weariness that he could not shake off
No matter what pills he popped
Or what art he made.
He was still great, don’t mistake me,
For greatness was built into him at Creation –
Just not as great as he was,
As he could have been,
If only he’d dared to do the hard thing.

A certain tinge of greyness colours his world,
A miasma reeking of the baser instincts:
Never reaching quite high enough,
Or digging quite deep enough,
Never quite making the mark.
Always searching for that nameless thing
That will satisfy his soul,
Always feeling like he could do more,
Be more, and achieve more.
Always seeking, never finding,
Always needing, always wanting,
Always hungering and thirsting;
Questioning what it’s all for.
Never satisfied, never really happy,
Always yearning and always pursuing
And striving –

We could have risen to dizzy heights
But his soul drew back
When love bade him welcome.
We could have been a great thing
But now we will only ever be
The ‘what if’ thing.
What does it profit a man
To make his mark and have no one
With whom to celebrate the success?
No one who really cares about him,
But only about what he can do, give, and say?
What does it profit a man
To be the best and the greatest
If he is also the saddest and the loneliest
Even when he’s in the crowd
And his ears deaf from the applause?

“Your children,” they said. “That’s why.
You’re damaged goods and they’re reminders of your imperfection.”
My children?
What do they mean except that
Just like you I’ve loved and tried to love?
What story do they tell
That is beyond his ability to understand?
Does he know of the responsibility
That comes with raising a life?
Does he know the secret things of God
That make some parents and others not?
Does he know the blessing that comes
With the hard work that goes
Into nurturing life?
Why do you think some beg, borrow and steal,
Make obeisance to the strange-gods
And to the unknown ones
Seeking that favour,
Seeking that which he discards so thoughtlessly when it is offered?

How are they blessed who do not see blessing
– Perhaps it is too well disguised?
Who kick it away from themselves,
As one who without hands when given
A pair of gloves might do?
Who see themselves rather cursed and much-maligned?
What a fool is he who does not recognise
Honour when it is offered to him,
Who rejects glory when it is thrust upon him
And chooses mediocrity instead,
Mistaking it for greatness.
My heart weeps.

Who hasn’t loved and lost?
Who?
Who doesn’t carry the scars
And the unhealed wounds of past experience?
Hasn’t been shaped and moulded by it all?
I have walked through the fire
And come out the other side rarefied
And even if I say so myself,
To refined to be loved by those who seek
Only the lowly pleasures
That one body can give another.
I’ve been stretched and pulled and folded
And broken and mended
Until the only man who can love me
Has also walked on those coals
And lived to not only tell the tale
But to walk towards the higher kind of love too.
This love, the high love and the deep love,
The kind of love about which
Books and songs are written,
The kind of love from which sonnets are spoken –
That kind of love only comes
With commitment and dedication
And absolution of self and others –
I thought he was such a man;
He made me believe he was –
But it seems pearls were cast before swine.

They said he was an idiot and a fool.
They called him many names
And unsavoury names,
They said he was weak and a coward
And a tool.
But none of those things were true.
He’s not an a**hole though he straddles
The line between man-sh*t and douchebaggery.
He never knew what we could be,
Never saw the vision I did;
I cannot fault him for that.

He said I was too much for him,
I should have believed him.
He said he wasn’t man enough,
I should have believed him.
No matter the words or the vision
Or the promises or the mirages or the reality,
When people tell you who they are,

Believe them.

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Words Like Knives

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Source – Unknown

Take your words back!
I don’t want them in my head or
In my heart or
Banging around in my skull –
Take them back! Take them back!
I don’t want them!

No longer can I pull them out
To savour and inhale them,
Turn them this way and that way and taste them;
Fresh and juicy, succulent and moreish –
I could never get enough of your words!
Your words! Take them back!

Pack them up in your boxes with your records
And your man-toys and your books –
I don’t want them here anymore.
I had room for them when I had room for you and your toothbrush
And your socks and your cracked mug – I should have broken it! –
But now that you’re leaving this home
And walking out’ my heart,
Take the words too, why leave them behind?

Your words are dirty stained things,
Ragged and flapping uselessly in the wind,
The flag of a long-gone nation, sovereign no more;
Cold lies where once flame roared.
Spineless things, limp things,
No firmness or courage in these things.
They reek of fear and foolishness and weakness
Though they used to be rose-scented solid things,
Things which promised a future and a hope;
Strong things, such beauties, precious things that I could hold close
And wear like Joseph wore his robe –
Take them! I don’t want them!

Your poems too – take them!
Just like your words they are not what they once were.
Sharp bits of glass to be avoided lest they cut and cut deep,
No more like rose petals (I love roses!) upon which to rest my cheek
And marvel at the beauty of life though now it’s so bleak.
Must I now re-purpose these words, find new meaning in them?
I must? I must! I refuse! I refuse!
But I will! –I must be strong where you are weak.

You were not strong enough
Or big enough
To contain all my love.
You said I was too much for you
And I should have listened
But I thought you said you would
Love the challenge
And Rise to it –
But no matter, just take back your words
And I will be fine.

Let me start fresh,
Let me untaste your words
And unknow your mind
And unfeel your body against mine.
Take back your words
And with them the memories
And I will be fine once more.
Just please, take them back.

 

 

On big words that grow legs

On big words that grow legs

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Serendipitousnessnessness…or so it seemed. That word seemed so apt even though she sometimes had trouble saying it. Still, it was the right word for the time and times in which she lived. Well times had changed, as times do for sure but for a time and times she’d been golden.
Yes, for those times it was the perfect word. Despite how unwieldy it sometimes was in her mouth and how it didn’t exit her lips as gracefully as other words did, and how her teeth and tongue always seemed to get in the way of saying it, and how she always seemed to end up with an extra syllable sometimes two extra syllables even, despite how, when she wanted to say it out loud, it – the word – seemed determined to trip her up just as badly as when she said it in her head, so that she had to close her eyes to concentrate better, and speak very slowly sounding out every syllable as if she was working through an early Schonell reader, and doing so extremely laboriously. Despite all of that, it had been the perfect word for that time, for those bright, accidentally wondrous -it seemed then – times.

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The weirdness was in the fact that now that those times had ended and that time had passed – joyful, laughter-filled times those, and a time of, well, let’s not look for more words to stumble over – now that times had gone a-changing, other almost-as-unwieldy words seemed determined to take over where the old word had left off, where the old word -she wasn’t going to say it or even think it again – had become obsolete: a new word, just as big, had come (but she still wasn’t sure about it).  Calamitousnessness – maybe? In retrospect?

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Is it fair to look back back on a time and anoint it with a different feel to that with which it was initially christened? At the time and while living in those times – the beauty, the awe, the wonder, the clichés, the outbursts of creativity, the beautifully constructed arguments, art so beautiful it made her gasp, feeling so intense that, well. Let’s not go there.
-When all that ended and you ‘looked back over your shoulder’, would it be fair to look upon past momentuos events that culminated in, say, crippling injury and the attendant agony,  and call the entire sequence calamitous instead of serendipitous, knowing full well that at the time serendipity was the word you chose and that you’re only now calling it a calamity because hindsight?
Inquiring minds wanna know.

Why You? Now You Know

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Reality smacks you across the face (you saw it coming, barely) and while you’re still standing there in shock, hand clasped to cheek, eyes wide, you get a backhander to the other cheek. That one you didnt see coming but in hindsight, you really should have. Your eyes water and on your knees, eyes raised to heaven (it’s just a more natural position in such situations), you cry ‘Why? Why me?’

Well,  I’m told the answer to that is: ‘Why not you?’

I don’t know about y’all but I’m not buying that bullsh*t. I want answers dammit and I’m not resting till I get them.
At least, that was my intention as I harangued and brow-beat God and the universe for answers.

Wanna know why you?

‘Cause you never learn. ‘Cause you’re foolish and you make foolish decisions. That’s why.

*drops mic, exits stage left*

But Will You Give Me Chocolate?

I know you’ll invade my spaces and my places,
Leave cases of memory upon cases;
Traces of all the ways in which you’ve imposed upon my good graces –
That’s all well and good, I’m ready to show you all my faces –

But. Will you see my tender spots and kiss my scars and tend my hurts? I want to know, will you give me chocolate?

I know you’ll make me laugh, I know you’ll make me think:
We’ve got eternity plus forever to tickle each other pink,
To play and drink and then I’ll throw it on you,
Everything including  the kitchen sink.

But. When I’m angry and I don’t want to talk and on those days when I just bite your head off – on those days, those painful days that make you think twice – on those days will you give me chocolate?

I know you’ll see my softness but will you be my soft place to land?
I know you’ll be my comfort, but will you be the dawn in my darkness?
I know you’ll see my tears but will you wipe my cheek?
Deep questions these, some might even say difficult,
But really all I want to know is, will you give me chocolate?

Chocolate tells me that you like it when I  smile,
Even that above all others you like this smile.
You see, I want you to want to make me smile just like I want you to want to do the dishes –
No,not that, never that –
I want you to want to see me smile
Even if it takes you doing me in the kitchen;
Rest assured I will always give you your version of chocolate:
Whatever makes you smile.
I guess all I want, really, is for you to say you’ll give me chocolate.

Pick Yourself Up and Dust Yourself Off

Pick Yourself Up and Dust Yourself Off

Something I’d been looking forward to that seemed as though it was all gold turned out to be…not. I watch myself from outside myself, expecting to fall apart, but I don’t. Well, not yet, anyway. Knock on wood. Why the difference? This time when the end came it wasn’t out of the blue. That’s not to say it was anticipated, just that I knew that it was in the realm of possibility and so when it happened I wasn’t left asking ‘But why? But how?’ The axis shifted and shifting with it rather than being rigid and thus breaking was a big ask because you know, inertia. This time as the universe tilted I tilted with it all the while keeping my centre of gravity on something outside and therefore independent of the tilting axis, and that’s how it is that I’m still standing. Pharq yeah, I’m scienceing the shit out of alladis.

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This time I allowed myself to see the worst-case scenario and then prepare for it without closing myself to the possibility of experiencing the best of outcomes. I dared and I lost, and I have absolutely no regrets because I gave my all, knowing full well that what I was doing was taking a big risk. Things didn’t work the way I anticipated but given the chance I would do it all over again because at every point I was my true authentic self. No manipulative games. No lies. No subterfuge. Just me. There’s therefore nothing I could do differently without also introducing an element of holding back and/or pretence, and I’m not about that; life is too short to waste time on falsehoods. I saw exactly how things could go down because I forced myself to confront things I didn’t want to face. At the height of summer I wasn’t in denial about the very real possibility of frost and snow, though of course I hoped the summer sun would never go down. I steadied myself for the possibility of winter (this was hard but I’m glad I did it) even as I basked in the summer glow. Now that winter is here, I’ve got my earmuffs and my gloves on, and I’m walking around like ‘I got this’ because you know what? I got this.

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I didn’t think I could avoid falling apart but pharq it, I’m still standing. I’m still standing because I’m holding onto my truth: my story is not over yet. A chapter might be ending but the story is still being written, the narrative is still unfolding. I am a great work in progress and therefore things can only get better because God don’t make no junk. I’m not even saying that in the ‘RaRa go me!’ attitude we put on to deal with pain and trauma of the deep emotional hurts-so-bad-you-wanna-puke kind. I’m saying that in the sense of B,- I’m still here so my story can’t be over, and since my story isn’t over it must be an epic doozy, a tale of greatness simply because it would be foolish to believe I’m living through this for what, nothing? No. I don’t believe that because that’s not who God is, and I know God is all up and in this danceree. One thing I know for sure is the truth of His infinity and His Presence. Y’all may not want to hear that but it’s the truth. I know I’m going to do great things because God does great things and though I’m somewhat disappointed because one potential expression of that greatness seems to have ‘died a death’, I know it wasn’t a premature death and I know that que sera sera because God, my God, is that kind of awesome.

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There is so much freedom in walking in your truth (line of the moment) even when it’s an unpalatable truth. It’s ok to admit that there are people who don’t want you even though on the face of it, it hurts. You’re not for everybody, nobody is; facing that becomes even easier when you realise that though it’s true, it’s not the whole truth. Yes, he may not want you, she may not want you, and the rejection may hurt like a – like something that hurts really bad, but the truth of the matter is that that’s just your ego hurting because it’s been bruised and it will pass. It hurts because your idea of yourself doesn’t include the truth that there are people who don’t think you’re all that, who could choose to walk away from you. You have to start facing the truth not everybody is going to appreciate you for who you are, and that’s ok. It’s also true that there are people who DO want you. You may not feel that way, but it’s true. Why focus on those who won’t or can’t see your awesomeness, who can’t or won’t make room for you in their lives? Just be you. Just do you. Just live your authentic self and you’ll attract what you need, what is for you, instead of fighting to keep that which doesn’t serve you or your best interests. Dare to believe that the universe is on your side, that only good things are coming your way, but first all what is not for you has to fall away. So let it fall away. Stop fighting for things that are not yours to fight for. Start living with arms wide open to receive that which IS meant for you.